Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Say It with Horses

by Kat Beyer

I was troubled in my mind about my parcel getting foreclosed upon, a man situation I’d’ve liked to improve, and Dog’s vet bill from a tumor. I put Dog in the pickup and drove down to Ghost Ranch.

Ghost Ranch is one of those places God or the chief Katsinas didn’t leave to any odd-job angel to make. The canyons speak with red and orange voices, glitter with cottonwoods. Half of my ancestors called it Canyon of the Witches, avoiding it like hell unless they felt the need for some cave painting; the other half, that showed up late and pale to the Turtle Island party, just loves it here.

“Sleep with me, bella Izzy?” asked my friend Felipe when I got out of the truck.

“Nope. I’ll cook, though.”

“You look awful. Not here to see me, are you.”

“Nope. Though I’m glad to.”

Up past the guest houses and the classrooms, the road runs up into the canyons. I parked the truck.

We walked the rest of the way up above the mouth of the wash. Nobody was going to come down here from Box Canyon, the reason being, nobody can get into it. I shared my sandwich with Dog and the spirits. I scattered corn pollen for them, telling them, “I can’t sleep up at my old place. I hope you’ll excuse me ‘til I can find some answers.”

After moonrise Dog and I listened to the coyotes singing like witches.

I don’t remember falling asleep; maybe Dog does. I remember the horses. They came down from Box Canyon that has no way in. There were painted ponies, palominos and appaloosas and one big Clydesdale, which is how I knew a variety of ancestors had sent them. They came down quick like thunder. I knew they’d trample me.

They did. I felt their hooves in my skull and ribcage, crushing my lungs and hips.

I woke up with rain on my face. The thunder had gone down the canyon like horses. Dog sat up, looking at me thoughtfully.

I still had my skull. Hips, too, and lungs.

I stood in the rain and offered up both corn pollen and my fears. The man would manage; the land I could ask for help on; Dog’s vet wouldn’t starve yet.

I left a note for Felipe: “Got told. Cook next time. Love, Isabella.”

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